Everyone has a plan until you get Punched in the face.
- Mike Tyson
There I was. Sitting behind the backstop at my son's baseball game.
It was a balmy summer afternoon and my boy was in the on-deck circle getting ready to head to the plate. Despite knowing better, I offered up some advice in between his practice swings.
"Keep your weight back. Small stride step. If it's a strike, SWING at it. Don't watch it."
He was 9 years old at the time.
He nodded as he always does, giving reassurance that he knew what I meant.
After he got himself into the batter's box, he probably heard a half dozen different sets of other voices instructing him on what to do. I was standing behind my lawn chair at this point, trying my best to help him through mental telepathy. Having been in his shoes for so many years, I know the worst thing for a batter to deal with is trying to block out the voices and allow your natural instincts to kick in.
Before I knew it, strike 3 blew past him and he hadn't even raised the bat off his shoulder.
I'm positive I let out an audible sigh in response.
His grade school gym teacher was standing next to me when it happened. He had been at the ballpark watching another young athlete on a different field, but noticed that my son - his student - was up to bat so he stayed to support him.
I turned and muttered something along the lines of, "I just don't know what else to do to make him get it." At that point, the gym teacher turned to me and said something I will never forget.
He told me, "Heidi, he's a GREAT kid."
I'm sure he didn't realize the impact that simple observation had on me at that moment, but those five words helped me see how my obsessiveness was not helping my boy enjoy baseball that day.
From that moment on, I vowed to stay out of the way and let him play.
I vowed to remember how grateful I am that he has an awesome GPA, even when his BA and ERA need some work.
I vowed to count my blessings that he is healthy enough to compete in sports, even when he falls short of his goal.
I vowed to not get sucked into the mentality that my kid shouldn't make mistakes as a child even when I continue to make mistakes as an adult.
I vowed to love and support all of my children for as long as they put on their uniforms and give their best efforts.
I vowed to tame my own competitiveness and internal drive to win, and overshadow them with a promise to myself to not lose perspective.
As parents and promoters of youth athletes, it's easy for us to lose perspective in the noise that surrounds every practice facility, athletic field, and gymnasium. Don't give into it. You have a GREAT kid. One who deserves your support and encouragement. Always remember that.